Nanny Anita has been super-busy this week putting together lots of fun Valentine’s Day crafts, here’s a round-up, just in case you missed them!

Valentine’s Sensory Box

For my youngest charge’s rest time I normally put out a selection of toys for her to play with, this gives me a chance to rotate some of her toys that haven’t been played with in a while for ones that have.  Today I decided to put a sensory box in her room, as we haven’t had one out since the light box before Christmas, this time I decided to put a Valentine’s themed one out for her.

For this sensory box I filled it with heart cut outs, rose petals, a rose bud, red and pink pompoms and a mini heart shaped cake mould.  I arranged it on the floor of her room with some other toys (a colouring book and magnetic building shapes) in an invitation to play.

When we went up to her room after lunch, the first thing she went for was the sensory box, I managed to snap a picture and then left her too it.  I am not sure how much she played with it, but when I came back into the room she had de-petaled the rose bud and the cake mould was now full of pompoms and serving as a birthday cake for Eeyore. She asked to play with it again after swimming, so I am guessing she enjoyed playing with it.

Make Your Own Valentine’s DIY Bingo

For the past few weeks (actually pretty much from January 2nd) my inbox has been filled with all sorts of Valentine’s related ideas, mostly craft ideas, but some maths and English ones as well.  I decided to jump on the Valentine’s bandwagon and made a Valentine’s Bingo game!

You will need:

1. Print out the Bingo sheets as many times as you need.
2. Cut out the hearts and write on the numbers.  There should be 30 hearts.
3. Fill in the Bingo sheet with random numbers, just make sure you have a heart cut out with that number on.

To play the game, either you or your little one should pull out a number heart and shout out the number.  If you have the number on your bingo board, cross it out.  The first person to cross out all their numbers has to shout “BINGO”!

I played it with my youngest charge after nursery the other day, and she got so excited about shouting ‘bingo!’.  Every time she crossed off one of her numbers she would mutter “I can’t call it out yet, I still have spaces…”.

When she had finished her bingo sheet I gave her a small prize of a few Teddy Grahams, which she probably was more excited about.  I can’t wait to play this with my eldest charge, as he would love the idea of trying to beat me and win his prize.

Handmade Valentine’s Day Cards with Rose Petals

During one of my planning sessions I was trying to think of an original way to make a Valentine’s Day card this year; I finally settled on the idea of using rose petals to decorate the cards. The next problem was how to attach the petals to the cards. While my little ones were at school/nursery I tried using glue on once card and sticky contact paper on the other one. Both of them produced nice results, but it was easier to attach the hearts using the contact paper, so this maybe a better option for younger children. As both looked good I left it up to my little ones to decide what one they wanted to do; they both chose to use the sticky contact paper.

While I was preparing everything, I tried using my heart shape hole punch on the petals, which actually turned out really well. As they tended to be curled up I flattened them by pressing them between some heavy books for a few hours.

To make your own Valentine’s Day petal cards you will need:

• Black/ Red Card
• Glue* or contact paper
• Rose petals
• Optional – heart shaped hole punch

* You will need strong glue like mod-podge or PVA rather than a Pritt stick.

To help them make their heart shapes I drew a heart on a piece of paper and placed it under the contact paper.

When they had finished they placed some card on top to stick everything down, they then smoothed out any bubbles.

Next they cut out their hearts and glued them onto another piece of card.

If you cut the petals try to use them that day as they do tend to wilt slightly, therefore these cards might be better if you make them a few days before Valentine’s day rather than a week.

Valentine’s Hide and Seek Phonics Game

My eldest charge was sent home from school the other day with flash cards so that we can practice his phonics every day. Don’t get me wrong, flash cards are a great and quick way to refresh his memory, but using them every day is, well, boring and uninspiring. What we needed was something to make his phonics fun again. What we needed was hide and seek, I don’t think that I have met a child who doesn’t like hide and seek and my two little ones are no exception, so this was an activity that both of them could easily do.

For your own phonics game you will need:

• Paper
• Scissors
• Pen

Cut out your hearts and write your letters on them, I also wrote some blended sounds on some like th, sh, ch etc.

For this particular game, as both my charges were playing, I hid all the hearts at once in the playroom and told them which sound that they had to find first, then when they brought me the correct heart, I told them the next sound. Obviously you can play this game however you wish, my eldest charged asked if we could play it again so that he could find all the letters that his sister had found! He obviously enjoyed the game then.

When I do activities like this, that involve phonics or maths I will normally only play the game once, even if they ask to play again, because that way they don’t get bored of it and the next time I pull out the activity they are still excited to play it.

Easy-to-Make Marbled Hearts Valentine’s Day Cards

One of the final Valentine’s crafts I wanted to do with the little ones was to make marbled heart gift tags for some special goodies that they are taking in on their last day before the half term holidays.  I love marbling, it can be messy, but the results are always so pretty, and I have very happy memories from doing it at school in Art club.  Plus it is not a technique I have used with them before.

After school, while my youngest charge was at a ballet lesson, my eldest charge and I went off to make our hearts.  We decided to do the whole thing in the bathroom, because as I said this craft can (and in our case did) get very messy.  Marbling paints will stain fabric, so it is best to do it in an area where all the surfaces can be wiped down.  I realise that marbling paints are quite specalised and rather expensive, so I have done some research and found an alternative to using them, but as I haven’t done this process myself I do not know what the results will be.

To make your own marbled hearts you will need:

• Marbling paints OR food colouring and oil
• Card stock (normal paper will work just fine but will look slightly greasy)
• Scissors
• Water
• Toothpick
• Pencil
• Tray

Method

1. Draw and cut out your hearts on some paper.
2. Fill your tray with some water; not too much, but enough to cover the bottom of the tray.
3. If you are using marbling paints then give the bottles a shake and drip some paint into the water. If you are using the food colouring and oil, you will need to mix ½ tbsp of oil with a tsp of food colouring.  Then you will need to mix it really well, ideally if you can shake it then do that. It should look like you are mixing oil and vinegar for a salad dressing. Once it is all mixed use a dropper to add some mixture to the water.

This is where our major paint disaster happened; our black paint wasn’t coming out, so I gave it a bit too hard of a squeeze, and the entire contents of the bottle ended up coming out in one big gush! Which covered a lot of the bathroom in black paint. Thankfully, because it was in the bathroom, I could wash all the surfaces down.

4. When you have added all your colours, use a toothpick to carefully mix the colours to create that marble effect.
5. Gently place your hearts down onto the surface of the water and let it sit there for 30 secs, then peel it out and place it on some paper to dry.

Once they are fully dried, my eldest charge will add them to his friend’s bag of chocolate bark that we are making later in the week.